New Delhi: American defence contractors continue to make impressive inroads in the Indian defence markets inspite of a spectacular loss with the Indian Air Force's medium range multi-role combat aircraft (MMRCA) tender. According to latest reports, aerospace and defence giant Boeing may have bagged a $1.4-billion deal for the supply of 22 heavy-duty attack helicopters or gunships to the IAF.
Interestingly, reports emerging in Russian media also suggest that their contractor Mil appears to have thrown in the towel as far as this particular contract is concerned, though they remain strongly in contention for two other contracts for supply of heavy-lift and light utility helicopters.
According to reports, the Cabinet Committee on Security's approval is still required for approval of the deal but it would appear that the contract will go to Boeing for its Apache AH-64D Longbow gunship, which has been preferred over the Russian Mil corporation's Mi-28N 'Night Hunter'.
Reports in the Russian media suggest that though both the Russian and American offerings were evenly matched in most respects, the Apache provided ''increased capabilities and displayed superior all-weather applications.'' The Russian report was quoting unnamed IAF sources.
The Obama administration has already notified the US Congress about the impending contract, listing out what all India "will request" as part of the "complete package" worth around $1.4 billion.
Besides the 22 Apaches, the package will include 812 AGM-114L-3 Hellfire Longbow missiles, 542 AGM-114R-3 Hellfire-II missiles, 245 Stinger Block I-92H missiles, 12 AN/APG-78 fire-control radars and the like.